A campervan powered by the energy of the sun alone has completed a journey of over 1,200 miles across Europe without stopping for fuel or plugging in to charge.
The campervan, known as Stella Vita, is described as a “self-sustaining house on wheels” – fully equipped with a double bed, sofa, kitchen area and a bathroom with a shower, sink and toilet.
Stella Vita can fit two people, who can drive, cook breakfast and watch TV using just the vehicle’s solar-charged battery, according to the vehicle’s creators, Solar Team Eindhoven, a team of 22 students from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands.
Tijn Ter Horst, a member of Solar Team Eindhoven 2021, said: “The main goal is to really inspire people and the market and society to accelerate the transition towards a more sustainable future. What we’re trying to do is to show people and show companies what’s already possible.”
The vehicle can typically travel up to 600 kilometres (373 miles) on its 60-kWh battery when fully charged, even at night and when it is cloudy. On a day when the sun is shining throughout, its range increases by an extra 130 kilometres (81 miles). The team drove approximately 300 kilometres (186 miles) between each destination, at a top speed of 120 kilometres (75 miles) per hour.
When it’s parked, the extendable roof can rise up to allow passengers to stand, and extra solar panels slide out from the sides, doubling the solar surface from 8.8 square meters to 17.5 square meters. While stationary, passengers can also track their energy consumption using the built-in infotainment system.
Solar Team Eindhoven came up with the idea for the campervan last September with the aim to make it as aerodynamic and lightweight as possible while still making it look good. By July this year, they had finished building the and started to test the vehicle on the road. The camper was licensed for use on public roads at the beginning of September.
Stella Vita’s creators finished their tour of Europe on 15 October having begun their journey from Eindhoven late last month. The team ended their journey in Tarifa, the southernmost tip of Spain. Technical issues at the start of the tour meant that the camper initially had to be transported using a trailer. However, once resolved, it was able to drive almost 1,200 miles.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living